The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today issued this summary and report announcing a new search area for Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370 operated with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420). Here is the summary (full report link at the bottom):
On March 8, 2014, flight MH 370, a Boeing 777-200 ER registered 9M-MRO, lost contact with Air Traffic Control during a transition of airspace between Malaysia and Vietnam. An analysis of radar data and subsequent satellite communication (SATCOM) system signalling messages placed the aircraft in the Australian search and rescue zone on an arc in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. This arc was considered to be the location where the aircraft’s fuel was exhausted.
A surface search of probable impact areas along this arc, coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, was carried out from 18 March – April 28, 2014. This search effort was undertaken by an international fleet of aircraft and ships with the search areas over this time progressing generally from an initial southwest location along the arc in a north-easterly direction. The location of the search areas was guided by continuing and innovative analysis by a Joint Investigation Team of the flight and satellite-communications data. This analysis was supplemented by other information provided to ATSB during this period. This included possible underwater locator beacon and hydrophone acoustic detections.
No debris associated with 9M-MRO was identified either from the surface search, acoustic search or from the ocean floor search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections. The ocean floor search was completed on May 28, 2014.
Refinements to the analysis of both the flight and satellite data have been continuous since the loss of MH 370. The analysis has been undertaken by an international team of specialists from the UK, US and Australia working both independently and collaboratively. Other information regarding the performance and operation of the aircraft has also been taken into consideration in the analysis.
Using current analyses, the team has been able to reach a consensus in identifying a priority underwater search area for the next phase of the search.
The priority area of approximately 60,000 km2 extends along the arc for 650 km in a northeast direction from Broken Ridge. The width of the priority search area is 93 km. This area was the subject of the surface search from Day 21-26.
Work is continuing with refinements in the analysis of the satellite communications data. Small frequency variations can significantly affect the derived flight path. This ongoing work may result in changes to the prioritisation and locale of search activity.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
The “7th Arc”
You will hear a lot about this term in the coming days. Here is the explanation:
The latest information and analysis confirms that MH 370 will be found in close proximity to the arc set out in the map and labelled as the 7th arc. At the time MH 370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending. As a result, the aircraft is unlikely to be more than 20 NM (38 km) to the west or 30 NM (55 km) to the east of the arc.
Based on all the independent analysis of satellite communications and aircraft performance, the total extent of the 7th arc reaches from latitude 20 degrees S to 39 degrees S.
Refinement of the analysis in the coming weeks will reduce the underwater Search Area along this arc to a prioritised 17,500 sq. NM (60,000 sq. km). The prioritised length of the Search Area along the arc is expected to be 350 NM (650 km).
More information about the Search Area will be made available as soon as it is verified.
Map of the “7th Arc”: